On Wednesday 8 September we marked Our Lady's birthday with a wonderful Mass at St Benet’s, Netherton. The altar was beautifully decorated and the Mass was said by Father David Potter, our diocesan spiritual adviser, and Father Sean O’Connor. We wished Fr Sean, who has been a staunch UCM supporter for many years, a long and happy retirement after 50 years in the priesthood.
In his homily, Father Potter reminded us that only three birthdays are celebrated in the liturgical year – Our Lord's on Christmas Day, Mary Our Mother's on 8 September, and St John the Baptist's on 24 June. He said: "Each of them plays such a pivotal part in God's plan of salvation that their very birth is a blessing for humanity and a reason for the Church to rejoice and give thanks. Motherhood is exalted in a high degree; small wonder that Our Lady's birthday is so dear to the heart of the UCM." We all said a heartfelt amen to that.
• Thanks to the members of our St Gregory the Great foundation for the afternoon tea party they organised for members who can no longer attend evening meetings. It was a wonderful success, a chance for the ladies to share memories of years gone by. Their foundation secretary, Pauline Turton, totted up the accumulated years of membership and it came to the staggering 600 – what an achievement!
• The publication of a recent report on the discussions held at the National Council last May on 'The Way Forward' led me to wonder whether we appreciate the many and varied activities that our national officers do on our behalf. They represent us on bodies such as the National Board of Catholic Women, which reports to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, putting our views forward. We also have members on the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations. We can see, therefore, that opinions expressed at foundation level are transmitted to the hierarchy and beyond, so do keep them coming.
• The deadline for election to the post of diocesan secretary has been extended to 27 November. There are lots of members out there who would do a marvellous job, so please come forward, ladies.